The Centennial of Women’s Suffrage in the Miami Valley

Katharine Kennedy Brown voting for the first time in 1920 (ms146_82_01_16)
Katharine Kennedy Brown voting for the first time (ms146_82_01_16)

On August 18, 1920, women gained the right to vote with the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of this historic event SC&A will be highlighting the Suffrage Movement in the Miami Valley throughout the year.

Daytonians played an important role in the passage of the 19th Amendment. Martha McClellan Brown was a national figure in the Temperance Movement and an advocate for women’s rights. Martha’s collection contains her speeches, writings on equality and suffrage, and correspondence with suffragists from around the country. Her daughter-in-law, Katharine Kennedy Brown, would vote for the first time in 1920 and later become a national figure in the Republican Party.

20th Century Club memento featuring Susan B. Anthony (ms147_07_18_12)

Items from the collections of both Martha and Katharine, along with Ruth Herr, have been digitized and can be viewed on the University Libraries CORE Scholar. The material includes speeches, photographs, booklets, correspondence, publications, and ribbons. All of our collections can be viewed anytime by visiting the reading room on the 4th floor of Dunbar Library.

In addition, two of the “In the Archives” video series focus on the history of Suffrage in the Miami Valley. In 2019, the Friends of the Libraries sponsored the “In the Archives” series that was created by Wright State students Amanda Harris and Nicolas Green and supervised by Jen Ware, associate professor in the Department of Communication and co-director of the New Media Incubator. Here is the debut of Suffrage, Part II. The first video was released in November and can be viewed here.

SC&A also plans to install a series of exhibits on Suffrage in the Miami Valley throughout 2020, so check our blog and social media for updates and locations.

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